In Russia’s frozen far north, Murmansk’s Inversia festival draws artists reflecting on the edges of the earth – including Brits, despite ever chillier diplomatic relations
In the Arctic Circle during the dim days of February, reality becomes a little attenuated. At 10am, it’s still dark, the streetlights colouring the pavements pale orange and making sallow shadows of the trees. When the forecast announces that today it’ll only be -11C, there’s a palpable sense of relief: someone gruffly makes a joke about global warming. By early afternoon, you’re into dusk, a meditative dwindling and diminishing that makes you wonder if it ever really got light. For what seems an eternity, the sky is rimmed with whitish-pink; the snow goes through every shade of blue, from azure and ultramarine through to deep indigo. The sense is that winter has frozen not only the ground, but time itself.
Given the sensory intensity, it’s little wonder that the wintry far north has proved so seductive to musicians and artists – or festival organisers. The Dark Music Days gathering in Iceland has been a mainstay of the experimental scene for 40 years, encouraging Europe’s most innovative composers and performers to flock to Reykjavik during late January. More recently, it’s been joined by Svalbard’s Polarjazz festival, Tromso’s Insomnia and at least two separate events, in Canada and Norway, named after the northern lights.
Link : Inversia: the Arctic music festival lighting up perpetual night